Nate Boyett, Unity Center’s new manager of inpatient services, is passionate about hands-on work that makes a daily difference in people’s lives. Here he talks about his role, what he loves about behavioral health care and what drives him each day.
Tell us about your background. What draws you to your work and how did you get started?
I am originally from Louisiana. In college, I was getting my undergraduate degree in sociology at Louisiana College. Soon after, while in graduate school, Hurricane Katrina hit. I started going home on weekends to do hands-on, direct work alongside my family and others who were impacted. I’d do disaster cleanup work on the weekends, and then go back to an office to do research.
It was a disconnect for me, so I decided to forgo that degree and started looking for jobs where there was more of a direct correlation between the work and helping others. I found one working in wilderness therapy, in Utah. While in Utah, I fell in love with working with individuals and taking more of a guide role that helps them navigate the situation they’re in. After three years, I decided to move back East to North Carolina to be closer to family and found a job as a residential case manager in a homeless shelter and respite facility for kids ages 9 to 17. Here is where I decided to return to school for my master’s in social work at East Tennessee State University in order to provide direct clinical care, be a stronger advocate for the people and the community I lived in and find ways to fill gaps and resources by having a better understanding of systems issues. In 2014 I moved to Oregon, where I worked with children and young adults in an outpatient setting at Morisson Child & Family Services providing individual and family therapy and was instrumental in developing a partnership between Morisson and Youth Progress Association.
When did you join Unity Center’s team? Tell us about your role and how you help Unity Center patients and its staff.
I came over to Unity from Portland Adventist Medical Center on the first day Unity opened its doors. I started as a clinical social worker working in both the inpatient setting and the Psychiatric Emergency Services units. In September of this year, I took this new managerial role. I really enjoy working with an interdisciplinary team, and I value the lessons I’ve learned here. In regards to how do I help the patients, I would say that the patients I have worked with have helped me the most! The patients challenge us to grow in both who we are professionally and as an individual Everyone who works here cares deeply. At Unity Center, they do what’s best for the patients, and that’s top of mind in everything we do. In that way, it’s very different than anywhere else I’ve worked.
In my new role, I oversee the inpatient social workers, two resource coordinators, and the Utilization Management Department. It’s my job to ensure they have the tools they need to do their jobs and to liaison with community partners to eliminate barriers for patients so they have access to available resources in the community specifically outpatient mental health follow-up.
What do you find rewarding about your work?
There have been times when I have heard from patients or families that after they leave Unity and reflect on their journey, they recognize how far they’ve come through their hard work. It’s great to see the difference in their lives when they’re given the opportunity and resources they need to approach life in a healthy way.
Tell us about something you’ve accomplished at Unity.
I can’t pick one specific thing – it’s more the day-to-day of meeting people where they are in their path and being there to help them take that next step, whether they’re struggling with substance use, mental health, or in a crisis. Getting them back on a path to recovery and connecting them to the resources they need is what’s gratifying for me. I’m really looking forward to finding innovative ways to continue supporting the team and advocating for the needs of patients. I’m excited for the future.
What are you doing when you’re not at work?
I love being outside in nature here in the Northwest, so I find time to go hiking, backpacking and skiing. I’m embracing Northwest culture and love brewing beer, cooking, and during the pandemic, I got on the sourdough bread train. I’m married and we take care of five chickens and our dog, a vizsla named Vadasz.
– Elizabeth Baker, firstname.lastname@example.org